I never got the animosity directed at Kieran Tierney when he and Celtic both accepted terms for a move to Arsenal. He had four years left on his contract, therefore Celtic could easily have retained the player, if they were unhappy at the deal. For Kieran, it was a chance to earn several times his income and play with a top club in the world’s top league.
Before he left in 2019, shortly after his 22nd birthday, there were murmurings of niggling injuries. No one was entirely convinced of his fitness. The subsequent years have seen hernia, shoulder and knee injuries, the latter of which remains the most concerning and is likely to inhibit his future options. Without the knee issue, he would be well out of Celtic’s reach.
There is little doubt that he is the best left back we have had in at least 30 years. He can comfortably perform at Champions League level and would be a leader on and off the park. After four years in England, however, there is no value-added to uncover. Kieran will not appreciate or attract lucrative bids.
If Celtic signed the player, they would invest a significant portion of wage budget (and possibly transfer funds) on a player who is off project. My rule of thumb: big wages and big transfer fees should be for players who will appreciate in value, hopefully attracting record bids before their contracts expire – like Jota or Cameron Carter-Vickers. This is the most effective way to grow a club and improve the playing stock.
There is still scope to sign players off project, Joe Hart being a prime example. Two years ago, we had a huge need for a player of Joe’s calibre and there was no injury profile to worry about. Aaron Mooy too.
I know Brendan Rodgers considers Kieran Tierney a tier one player, and Brendan was elsewhere while Greg Taylor was doing his thing last season. He may be tempted to move for Kieran. If so, it could be an early test of how smooth the recruitment operation works under the new boss.